「おしまいです…」 (Oshimai Desu…)
Episode at a Glance:
Unable to decipher Haruka’s map, Yuuto gets lost on his way to her place, where they had planned to study for exams together. After receiving a real map from a young girl though, he eventually finds his way and is taken through Haruka’s huge estate by the head maid, Sakurazaka Hazuki. In Haruka’s room, Yuuto is surprised to see nothing anime around, so Haruka explains that her hobby is a secret from her family as well. While studying together, Haruka mentions that her family isn’t home today, which causes Yuuto to become easily distracted and almost capitalize on an opportunity. However, another maid, Nanashiro Nanami, and the young girl from earlier crash in, the latter of which turns out to be Haruka’s younger sister, Mika. Wanting a word with Yuuto, Mika drags him aside, confirms that he knows about her sister’s secret, and asks him to not abandon her because of it. Realizing that Mika, Hazuki, and Nanami already know as well, Yuuto simply says that Haruka’s his friend and that he would never do such a thing, much to Mika’s relief.
After finishing their exams, Haruka invites Yuuto to a summer comiket, which he agrees to go to despite not really knowing what it is. Another student then accidently runs into Haruka, knocking her over and revealing a comiket catalog from her bag. Hearing all the instant negative commotion directed towards Haruka, Yuuto lies to everyone by saying that the catalog is actually his. While the other students believe him, Haruka runs off in tears and doesn’t show up to school for the next few days. During her abscene, Yuuto receives a bunch of hate mail in his shoe box, plus the harassment of Ogasawara Takashi. This treatment makes Yuuto question what’s so bad about an Akibakei, and he later visits Haruka’s place to see how she’s doing. There, he’s greeted by Mika, who explains how Haruka’s secret was exposed in middle school and forced her to transfer. Outside Haruka’s room, Mika tricks her into coming out with a bit of jealousy, so Yuuto explains that her secret is safe. However, Haruka’s more concerned about having him losing all his friends like she once did. Yuuto claims that those aren’t real friends then, and says at the very least, she’ll always have him as one. Relieved that she won’t be alone, Haruka asks Yuuto to always be by her side.
On their way to school the next day, the two of them bump into Takashi, who tells Haruka that it would be better to hang out with him than a disgusting otaku like Yuuto. Infuriated, Haruka tosses Takashi aside and tells him not to bad mouth Yuuto. She also explains that the comiket catalog was actually hers, so if he has anything to say about it, to say it to her. With a smile on her face, she then turns to Yuuto and suggests that they get going.
「変じゃないでしょうか…？」 (Hen Janai Deshou ka?)
“It’s Not Weird Is It…?”
This episode portrayed the otaku image in a pretty horrible light, where one’s life literally gets destroyed if you’re discovered to be one, but rest assured this isn’t quite like how things are in Japan nowadays. While it’s probably not seen as a “cool” hobby, it’s hardly looked down upon nowadays (as people could really care less outside of online message boards), so unless you take it to an excessive level of fandom and actually look stereotypically “geeky”, you should be alright. It’s not quite what your tastes are, but more of how you dress and act, so I found it a bit extreme for a school idol to be instantly looked down upon if people found out that she likes anime. I understand the comedic factor in all this, but they conveyed everything in a fairly serious tone, which makes me wonder how some actual hardcore otakus take it. i.e. Do they see it as an obvious outcome or an overexaggeration? (If you happen to be a self-proclaimed hardcore otaku, I’d love to hear what you think.)
While I can’t speak for any of the readers here, I personally don’t see myself as a hardcore otaku by any means (despite blogging anime), and you’d probably be hard-pressed to even know I watched anime in real life if I never brought it up. I bet some people would beg to differ though, as this writer position probably bumped me up a few notches on the otaku scale (*cries*), but I’m all for going against the normal stereotypes. In short though, I enjoy anime. It’s a hobby dating well back before anime was even popular outside of Japan, and I don’t hide the fact that I watch it (or blog it) because I don’t see the need to. I don’t “live” anime though, nor do I take part in the online anime community outside of RC, so my level of fandom ends there. (Hmm, my impressions are starting to sound like a mini editorial and a defense of my image (which wasn’t intended), so I’ll leave the article about “the current state of the otaku image” to Natrone should he feel like talking about it.)
As for the episode itself, there was an air of humour all around, mainly from the introduction of Haruka’s younger sister, Mika, plus their two maids, Sakurazaka Hadzuki and Nanashiro Nanami. The maids are played by Shimizu Kaori (Takano Akira in School Rumble) and Ueda Kana (Tousaka Rin in Fate/stay night) respectively, and the latter of the two is reminiscent of the clumsy, blue-haired maid, Mieno Hatsumi, from Suteki Tantei Labyrinth in appearance, but not behavior. (Both are voiced by Ueda Kana.)
As for Yuuto, he sure has a knack for saying and doing the right things at the right moments, seeing as he let himself be labeled an otaku to protect Haruka’s secret. Because of this, he’s become increasingly more amiable in my eyes, but I can’t help but feel that the show is becoming more about romance than comedy at this point. I originally thought this series was going to be centered around the comedy more, but I should probably throw that expectation out the window now and just take the series for what it is. I think the last show I watched that could be classified as romance was true tears, so I’ve been looking for a show to fill that genre’s void. As things stand now, Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu might just deliver in that department.
P.S. The opening and ending singles were recently released, but I haven’t had a chance to listen to them yet.
– Nogizaka Haruka (乃木坂 春香) / Noto Mamiko (能登 麻美子)
– Ayase Yuuto (綾瀬 裕人) / Hatano Wataru (羽多野 渉)
– Nogizaka Mika (乃木坂 美夏) / Gotou Mai (後藤 麻衣)
– Sakurazaka Hadzuki (桜坂 葉月) / Shimizu Kaori (清水 香里)
– Nanashiro Nanami (七城 那波) / Ueda Kana (植田 佳奈)
– Kamishiro Yukari (上代 由香里) / Matsuki Miyu (松来 未祐)
– Ogasawara Takashi (小笠 原孝) / Majima Junji (間島 淳司)
– Male student A (男子生徒A) / Oda Hisafumi (小田 久史)
– Male student B (男子生徒B) / Maeno Tomoaki (前野 智昭)
– Female student A (女子生徒A) / Asakura Azumi (浅倉 杏美)
– Female student B (女子生徒B) / Ootake Miyu (大竹 みゆ)